You are just a racist

“You are just a racist.”

Many a person has levelled this popular charge against, well, anyone they don’t like. I’d like to take a moment to correct the statement and simultaneously arm you for the next person who calls you a big bad meany racist.

A racist is a person who believes a particular race is superior to others.

Calling someone a nigger, spic, jew or cracker does not make one a racist. At most, it makes them a boor. That one might engage in behaviours that are popularly attributed to a certain group does not imply that one is part of the group, or that they adhere to the ideology that denotes the group.

I believe that women ought to be treated with a baseline of respect. Does this make me a Feminist? Of course not.

That Chinese people eat pork and that Canadians eat pork does not make the Chinese Canadians, or vice versa.

There is only one sure way to know if someone is a racist, misogynist, this, that or the other -phobic: that is to ask whether they subscribe to a particular idea or not.

And even if they do, this does not imply that the person, as a whole complex creature, should be dismissed. A KKK member surely can be a good mother, and a fascist can surely also be a good father, or auto mechanic.

The label, whether accurate or not, does not imply anything about any other ideas or behaviours. To claim it so would be a simple ad hominem, as well as simple-minded name-calling.

The question to ask, in these kind of contexts, is: can I demonstrate that the individual in question has negatively discriminated against someone in such a manner as to cause measurable harm?

 

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